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Ecophysiology of seed dormancy and the control of germination in early spring-flowering Galanthus nivalis and Narcissus pseudonarcissus (Amaryllidaceae)

Newton, R. J., Hay, F. R. and Ellis, R. H. ORCID: (2015) Ecophysiology of seed dormancy and the control of germination in early spring-flowering Galanthus nivalis and Narcissus pseudonarcissus (Amaryllidaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 177 (2). pp. 246-262. ISSN 0024-4074

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/boj.12240


Seed dormancy induction and alleviation in the winter-flowering moist temperate woodland species Galanthus nivalis and Narcissus pseudonarcissus are complex and poorly understood. Temperature, light and desiccation were investigated to elucidate their role in the germination ecophysiology of these species. Outdoor and laboratory experiments simulating different seasonal temperatures, seasonal durations, and temperature fluctuations; the presence of light during different seasons; and intermittent drying (during the summer period) over several ‘years’ investigated the importance of these factors in germination. Warm summer-like temperatures (20°C) were necessary for germination at subsequent cooler autumn-like temperatures (greatest at 15°C in G. nivalis and 10°C in N. pseudonarcissus). As the warm temperature duration increased so did germination at subsequent cooler temperatures; further germination occurred in subsequent ‘years’ at cooler temperatures following a second, and also third, warm period. Germination was significantly greater in darkness, particularly in G. nivalis. Dormancy increased with seed maturation period in G. nivalis, because seeds extracted from green capsules germinated more readily than those from yellow. Desiccation increased dormancy in an increasing proportion of N. pseudonarcissus seeds the later they were dried in ‘summer’. Seed viability was only slightly reduced by desiccation in N. pseudonarcissus but was poor and variable in G. nivalis. Shoot formation occurred both at the temperature at which germination was greatest and also if 5°C cooler. In summary, continuous hydration of seeds of both species during warm summer-like temperatures results in the gradual release of seed dormancy; thereafter, darkness and cooler temperatures promote germination. Cold temperatures, increased seed maturity (G. nivalis), and desiccation (N. pseudonarcissus) increase dormancy while light inhibits germination.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Crop Science
ID Code:38390


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